7 January 2012
Hirofumi Yokoi | Tokyo, Japan

The orientation and workshop session for the AFF-BRAC University Microfinance Professional Development Course, which Alliance Forum Foundation (AFF) organizes and operates, was held in Tokyo, Japan. About 20 people participated in the event. In the session, Stuart Rutherford, the author of The Poor and Their Money, and founder of SafeSave, a microfinance institution in Bangladesh, gave a lecture on microfinance and SafeSave’s money-management services for the poor. In what follows, Hirofumi Yokoi, on behalf of AFJ, sit together with Mr. Rutherford and shared with the audience his knowledge and experience in the microfinance industry across the MENA region, and worked with the participants as a facilitator towards leading them to a further understanding in the industry and its challenges underneath.

3 January 2012
Dubai, UAE

The registration of a new microfinance investment vehicle based in Dubai was announced on January 2nd, 2012. Founded by Co-Presidents of Akira Foundation Japan, the company, Akira Social Ventures, JLT (ASV), will create a new funding channel for microfinance institutions and micro-entrepreneurs in the third world. Longer-term, ASV will center more on the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) market through its impact investment management services to address social, economic and environmental challenges, or the Triple Bottom Line. Here is the registered office information:

Address: Dubai Multi Commodity Centre (Almas Business Centre),
Level 49, Almas Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers,
P.O. Box 340505, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, U.A.E.
Phone: +971 4 3633637
Fax: +971 4 3751893

1 January 2012
Tokyo, Japan

Ms. Yu (Joy) Chu, recipient of 1st Akira- Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship, is featured in Keio’s quarterly magazine, “Juku.”

In the cover story of ‘Learning,’ or ‘Manabi’ (in Japanese), she mentions that she has been inspired by her parents, especially her mother and grandmother, both of whom are Japanophiles. She has been to several sites of Japan with her families and kept learning Japanese, along with English, since she was little in Taiwan and New Zealand, where she was born. Those learning experiences in Japan resulted in her making up her mind to come for study in Japan as an international student of the Global Information and Communication Technology and Governance Academic (GIGA) Program at Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC).

Her favorite classes that she takes at the GIGA program are “Exploring Environment and Information Studies” and “Exploring Policy Management”. She enjoys those classes which encourage students to identify issues underneath and find their creative solutions through constructive discussion and knowledge sharing among people involved. She is hoping that given that SFC allows students to take a variety of classes across disciplines, she would be able to gain a further understanding in environmental issues, which has been in her interest, by taking classes of economics and mathematics, combined with that of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). She wants to engage in environmental consulting services after graduation.

Next to her story, AXIS scholarship program, which represents a joint force between SFC and AFJ, is also briefly quoted and explained. The scholarship is awarded to a most exemplary, outstanding international student, who is already accepted to the GIGA program, on the basis of various measures of achievement
30 September 2011
Dubai, UAE

The first off-site meeting of Akira Social Ventures (ASV) was held at Novotel World Trade Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The founding members of ASV (including Hirofumi Yokoi) attended the meeting and discussed its strategic plans and subject matters for three consecutive days, from registration to microfinance projects, one of which focus primarily on helping people in the disaster-stricken areas of Japan rebuild and revive their economies and societies.

30 July 2011
Tokyo, Japan

Hirofumi Yokoi was invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Social Enterprise English Language School (SEELS) on Saturday, 30 July 2011, which was launched in partnership with Akira Foundation. Community leaders, practitioners, teachers, school managers and staff, and its advisory board members from both Philippines and Japan were invited to attend the ceremony at the site of the new class room at Hirai, Tokyo.

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